News Parliament

PRIVATE MEMBERS BUSINESS - Food, Beverage and Grocery Industry

I'm delighted to have this opportunity to talk about the food, beverage and grocery industry in our seat of Calare. It's thriving in many different respects—the people it employs, the small business that it supports and the tourism that it brings to our region. It is very important. Indeed, it is the cornerstone of many regional economies in New South Wales and across Australia. Calare is blessed to have some outstanding primary producers growing the food that feeds Australia. We're certainly proud of the work our farmers undertake in producing our beef, lamb, pork, venison, poultry, and our vegetables and grains. Also, there are our orchards. We have a very strong orchard industry in Calare. Their contribution to our local economy is huge.

In addition to our wonderful fresh food, Calare produces some of the best wines in Australia. The cool climate regions across the central west are becoming world famous. From January to June 2017, Australian exports of bottled wine to China grew by 86.1 per cent to $252.4 million in value—just showing how popular Australian wine is. Besides our excellent wines, we have some well-known brands manufactured in our electorate of Calare, including Ferrero Rocher and Nutella—that iconic brand, members will be interested to know, is actually manufactured in Lithgow. Also, Australia's iconic Chiko Rolls are manufactured in Bathurst—the home of Chiko Rolls. Indeed, if you go into the factory you will see the sign that says, 'Welcome to Simplot in Bathurst, home of the Chiko Roll'. I would like to congratulate the manager, Ivan England, for his great work and all that he does for our local economy.

There's great work going on right across the electorate. One person that I need to mention is Herb Smith, who has founded Dreamtime Tuka. Herb is a Wiradjuri man. He has decided that he will take Dreamtime Tuka to the world—and he's doing it. He launched the company in 2013. He employs two staff members in Wellington, but it has already been picked up by Qantas domestically. He's hoping to get Dreamtime Tuka on international flights, as well. Herb is famous for his rainforest plum chocolate slices. They're very popular. That's an example of a great local entrepreneur who is taking our local product to the world.

I also want to mention Ashcroft's Supa IGA. They are a locally owned grocery enterprise. The owners are Ian and Rochelle Ashcroft. They have a program called Let's Make Better. Their team is Nerida Noon, Jessie Blizzard, Kristy Mansell and Bree Selwood. The Ashcrofts opened their first store in Peisley Street in Orange in 1988 and now have a second store in the Orange Summer Centre. They employ more than 200 staff across both stores. So it's an enormous contribution to our local economy.

What makes Ashcroft Supa IGA stand out is their commitment to supporting the central west community. This is evident in the local product that they sell, including Orange's salad and dip brand, Fresh Fodder; Dubbo's Little Big Dairy milk; and MSM Milling's Auzure canola oil, which is produced in Manildra. They also aim to give back to the community through the Let's Make Better charity. It was established in 2016 and they have since raised $80,000 for a number of community organisations. The money is raised at their fundraising days held in store and through their rewards program and donation boxes. They also have a bonus club, which is a loyalty scheme that allows members special prices and discounts and also the choice to have some of their rewards donated to the community group of their choice. Donation boxes are located at the store counters and outside the checkouts, where cash and purchased items are donated.

The charity was recognised earlier this year when the team received the Community Group of the Year Award, with 100 per cent of donations from Let's Make Better going to supporting the community. Some of the organisations which they have helped in Orange include Housing Plus, Riding for the Disabled and the Vinnies food van. They are supporting every aspect of community life in the central west, and we commend them here today.